Humor books for first graders

Your youngster will smile at the diary of a literate worm or the "smash, mash, and crash" of garbage trucks.

By GreatSchools Staff

I Lost My Bear

I Lost My Bear by Jules Feiffer (HarperCollins,1998)
$6.99, Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's

Is it possible for a few words and squiggles to convey both humor and emotion? Jules Feiffer’s seamless blend of scribbled text and cartoon art captures every nuance of the young heroine’s feelings. The reader stays in complete sympathy with the little girl even when she’s pouting. Adults can expect their kids to squeal with delight at the girl’s all-too-recognizable antics.

Rarely do text and pictures work together this perfectly. But in the hands of a master, the tiniest curlicue carries a tremendous freight of character, hilarity, and poignancy. It’s a good thing this book is so much fun for adults, because their children will want to hear it again and again. And while kids point and laugh at the little girl’s ever-changing expressions and the havoc she makes of the house, parents and grandparents will smile in recognition of Feiffer’s wise insights into young children. 37 pages.

Common Sense Media

Diary of a Worm

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Harry Bliss (HarperCollins, 2003)
$16.99, Amazon / IndieBound Powell's

No child can resist the young baseball-cap-wearing worm, whose diary chronicles his everyday adventures — whether it’s playing with his friend spider, teasing his sister, or doing the first part of the Hokey Pokey with his classmates. Hilarious text and cartoon illustrations make readers of all ages ask, “Is there another book just like this?”

Dr. Jan LaBonty


By Alan Katz, illustrated by Edward Koren
Margaret K. McElderry (2008)
Ages 4-8, $17.99

If your child is a fan of humorous verse, in the vein of Jack Prelutsky's or Shel Silverstein's, crack open Oops! Alan Katz writes hilarious poetry based on the wild antics of his four children. Topics such as leaving fingerprints, fighting with siblings, and waiting for the school bus fill the pages. Featuring 100 poems, Oops! will tickle your kid’s funny bone all year long. — Danielle Marshall,

Bottom line: Poetry with wit.

Smash! Mash! Crash! There Goes the Trash!

Smash! Mash! Crash! There Goes the Trash! by Barbara Odanaka, illustrated by Will Hillenbrand (Simon & Schuster, 2006)
$6.99, Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's

This book opens simply enough, with two piglets waking up to the predawn sounds of the garbage men making their rounds. The emphasis in these pages is on the noises made by the trucks, rumbling and roaring like “dragons snoring.” But then the focus turns to the actual garbage — rotten eggs, apple cores, diapers, and so on.

Barbara Odanaka isn’t afraid to be realistic. Her smiley garbage men wear “greasy gloves ... sticky boots ... stains a-plenty on their suits,” and there are flies “a-buzzin’ by the dozen.” Will Hillenbrand’s vivid ink-and-egg tempera illustrations bring all these stinky details to life — including the truck itself, which gobbles up everything with gusto. There’s a definite gross-out element to the book, but Odanaka’s rhyming text and enthusiastic look at an important job make this entirely suitable for small children. 32 pages.

— Parents’ Choice

Tacky and the Winter Games

Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger (Houghton Mifflin, 2007)
$16, Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's

Everyone is penguin crazy these days. Who can resist these lovable winter birds? Tacky and his friends have been around since 1990 and, in this newest volume, form Team Nice Icy Land to compete in the Winter Games. Tacky learns that being on a team takes hard work and dedication. The challenge here is to keep from laughing out loud with your child at the silly antics of Tacky and his friends. Hilarious and raucous fun. 32 pages.

— Danielle Marshall,